I had the pleasure of trying out a new genre recently, Inspirational Fiction, which are love stories celebrating traditional Christian values. The book is A Family Forever, by Brenda Coulter.
What initially attracted me to this book was the unique approach it had to love. Instead of two people ferociously attracted to each other having to overcome one obstacle after another to end up with each other, it’s two people who come together without attraction or love and learn how to appreciate and care for each other.
Coulter has an eloquent way with words that provides the reader with insight to the main character by the end of page one. Her descriptive prose was a delight and made the read fresh. And, don’t let the word ‘inspirational’ fool you. While the book does adhere to Christian values, it is still full of conflict and tension and, just when you think you can predict what’s going to happen, WHAM, a new twist is introduced. These twists work well with the story and do not seem contrived.
The characters develop well throughout the story and Coulter balances the perception of a character alongside his/her actual character very well. She includes delicious morsels of personal tidbits that leave you liking the characters more and more.
A Family Forever was a delightful read and I give the book top marks. I recommend you put it in your TBR pile, if it’s not there already.
Author Interview - Brenda Coulter
To my delight, Brenda took some time out to give me some insights about writing A Family Forever.
Tell me a little bit about A Family Forever and what inspired you to write it.
I liked what you said, Nienke, about this story approaching love from a different angle. The marriage-of-convenience story has of course been done before, but those novels are always about "accidental" love; the couples usually fight it but can't help falling for each other. I wanted to explore what might happen if the hero and heroine admitted they weren't interested in each other and then tried to make themselves fall in love.
Why do you think readers like 'inspirational' romance stories?
Two reasons. First, it's "guilt-free" entertainment. A Christian woman can read these stories without being made uncomfortable because her values are being undermined. And second, each inspirational romance novel delivers not just a falling-in-love story, but a tale of some spiritual victory. Christian women find these books not just fun and romantic, but spiritually uplifting.
What do you like best about being a novelist?
I love the solitude. And I love working at my own pace, on whatever I want to work on.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
It's all hard. Fortunately, it's the fun kind of hard. I enjoy the challenges, whether I'm plotting, writing, editing...even revising a story.
What advice would you give to aspiring novelists?
So many of the aspiring authors I see are leaning heavily on other writers, waiting for someone to show them the secret path to publication. There isn't one, and "talent" isn't sufficient to get you published. Neither is "wanting it bad." If you're not driven and determined and disciplined, I honestly don't think you have much of a chance. And you have to find those qualities inside yourself; hanging out with other writers may inspire you, but that's only the beginning. You have to do all the rest, and it's going to be hard.
For more information on Brenda and her books:
A FAMILY FOREVER